Fox’s Dennis Kucinich Interviews Bashar al Assad

-By Warner Todd Huston

Former Progressive Congressman and now Fox News contributor Dennis Kucinich has interviewed Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. The interview aired on Fox on Wednesday night, September 18.

Introducing the interview, Fox’s Bret Baier told viewers that the interview was Kucinich’s idea, that the former Congressman made the arrangements with Assad himself, but that the network insisted that Kucinich conduct the interview with a full-time Fox reporter–choosing senior foreign-affairs correspondent Greg Palkot. Baier then assured viewers that the interview was held without any restrictions on the sort of questions the pair could ask Assad.

In a Wednesday statement, Fox’s executive vice president of news Michael Clemente explained further.

“On Saturday, Sept. 7, … Dennis Kucinich advised me that he believed he could secure an interview with… Assad, whom he had met on previous occasions. At the time, it appeared that an American military attack on Syria was imminent, and I decided that Kucinich should pursue the interview, on condition that Fox News journalists would also be included.”

“The interview, shot by agreement by a Syrian camera crew, was conducted with no restrictions on the questions that could be asked. … Greg Palkot, a veteran of Middle East coverage, conducted the interview beside Kucinich … I was present in the control room and studio at the Presidential Palace in Damascus for the duration. Kucinich was not there in the capacity of a journalist nor was he representing Fox News in that role.”

Fox was driven to make that latter clarification because in 2011, while he was still in the House of Representatives, Dennis Kucinich visited Syria and absurdly pronounced Assad to be “highly loved” by his people.

For his part of the interview, Kucinich never asked Assad if he ordered the use of the chemical weapons against his own people, but Kucinich did ask about recent developments and the idea floated by the international community that Syria should destroy its WMDs.

Assad claimed that he and his government had always maintained that Syria wanted to destroy its WMDs. Neither Kucinich nor Palkot challenged Assad’s claim.

Assad also said that he never said that Syria didn’t have chemical weapons. He now says that in the past he just didn’t confirm it either way. Assad dared US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama to prove that he said Syria had no chemical weapons.

“I dare them to say that we said ‘no’ once. We never said it. We never said ‘no’ we never said ‘yes.’ What we always said is it’s a classified issue and we don’t have to discuss it… it is a blatant lie.” Assad told Kucinich.

Kucinich also asked if he could take Fox cameras into Syria’s chemical weapons sites, an idea that Assad deflected.

Assad then said that the USA should pay the $1 billion that he estimated it would cost to destroy his chemical weapons.

When Kucinich asked if Syria could destroy its chemical weapons quickly and easily, Assad demurred. “I think a very complicated operation, technically, and it means a lot of money. From estimated about a billion.” He then said that his experts say it could take a year–maybe a little bit more–to properly dispose of them all.

But Assad wondered why the US doesn’t pay for the destruction. “If the American administration is ready to pay those monies and to take the responsibility of bringing toxic material to the United States, why don’t they do it?”
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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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